The Damned Things - Ironiclast (Cover Artwork)

The Damned Things

Ironiclast (2010)


Last year, a friend pointed out that members of Every Time I Die and Fall Out Boy were forming a group. He knew I enjoyed a little of Every Time I Die from time to time. I asked who all from each band was in the group. He told me Keith Buckley, Josh Trohman, Andy Hurley and "some guy named Scott Ian." "Some guy?" I was floored. "Yeah, I don't recognize that name." "Anthrax?" "What'd he play in Anthrax?" "Guitar." "Oh. Shit." "Oh shit" is right. Scott Ian is a king. While my friends were in love with Megadeth, I clung onto the opinion that Anthrax were, up and away, the best of the Big 4. The other thing I noticed is that the two members of Fall Out Boy involved in the Damned Things are the most talented of the group when it comes to rock music. And after catching bits and pieces of ETID on Warped Tour last year, I can say that Buckley is talented and has a lot of fun doing what he does. But the Damned Things, while seeming promising on paper, came with a lot of skepticism in my mind–and many others' as well.

What Ironiclast brings to the table is this: Think of some of the best parts of all bands involved, and then dial them down a little bit. Great guitar from all three guitar players. Yes. Three. If you look in the liner notes, there's not a standalone bassist. Bass on this record is managed by Rob Caggiano (he plays in Anthrax). You know what else Rob Cagianno did? Everything on this record. He produced it, played lead and rhythm guitars, bass, did some vocals, and I guess he played some percussion, too. Oh, and he's a partial songwriter on almost every song. Back to the matter at hand–it's all of the parts you love about the three bands involved...except they're not as good as on each individual group's albums. Huge choruses? Sometimes there, sometimes not as much. Great metal guitar? From time to time. Standout vocals? I can't honestly check that off the list. That's one of the downfalls of the record: It's been neutered.

Most of these songs, the verses sound like they're around to fill space from chorus to chorus. I don't remember the song until the chorus kicks in. And some of the choruses are forgettable, too. Or I want to forget them (well, I want to forget all of track seven, "Little Darling"). The jury's still out on that matter. There's a classic rock approach to the album in that there's some killer riffs and the singing is almost always clean. This would be fine were it not Keith Buckley. Buckley's singing is great–don't get me wrong–but without the more aggressive screams/yells, there's an emotional void.

And maybe that's the real issue here. Everyone here is talented, but they aren't used to their full effect. It's sad. There's a lot of promise here, but after time, the album gets grating. However, with huge choruses, an aggressive outlook, and some cheesy album art, it'll fit right in with the local modern rock station. There's some redeeming parts to this record, but let's just hope this isn't a full-time thing.